Net Neutrality is a terrible idea

My view on net neutrality changed after reading this article.
You may think that walled-garden access to Facebook or Google is inferior to neutral Internet access—and you’d be right. But if the neutralistas got their way, people in developing countries wouldn’t have better Internet access; many of them would have nothing. Wikimedia notes that in Kenya, mobile service costs can exceed 25 percent of monthly income. “Additionally, nearly 1 in 5 have reported that they will forgo a usual expenditure (such as food) in order to reload phone credit.” Low-quality (free) Internet access, therefore, is part of the optimal stock of Internet access.
As if it weren’t enough to connect the world’s poorest for the first time, non-neutrality can also help to fund necessary network buildouts on an ongoing basis. By giving access to Facebook, Google, and Wikipedia away as a loss-leader, carriers are serving with their basic tier of service those who can’t afford more, and habituating those who can afford to click beyond the walled garden to using the mobile web. This price discrimination not only increases access but also raises more revenue than a neutral strategy would. Developing-world carriers need that revenue if they ever intend to build the kinds of networks that will support widespread Internet use. Net neutrality, in other words, would not only keep the poorest offline, it would keep investment in poor-country telecom infrastructure down for longer.

Read the whole thing. It is not often that a well-honed argument can change minds, but this one probably might.

Turns out that when we argue for net neutrality, we are arguing from a position of privilege.  And we need to check that privilege -- getting rid of net neutrality can be very beneficial to the poor everywhere and to everyone in developing countries.


  1. Replies
    1. Fixed the statement now. I meant to say that getting rid of net neutrality will benefit the poor.